It was a year ago I announced to our church we would be suspending our gatherings for at least the next 3 weeks! Yes you heard right, what we all felt would be a blip, a bump in the road has instead been a year that’s shaped and changed the landscape of our world maybe for a generation.
As we mark this year, we will remember those who have lost their lives and those who have given so much and continue to give so much.
I also hope we will all take some time to reflect….
Plato once said, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’.
I’ve been saying this past year, ‘the only thing worse than a crisis is a wasted crisis’
My sense is that to emerge from this as healthy as possible and as ready for this next season as we can, will come down to our ability to do two things…
To grieve our losses and to celebrate our learnings
Here’s what I have learned during this past year I hope to take with me into the future.
They are in the form of phrases I’ve either heard or have said myself…
1. “Crisis is the cradle of innovation” – a year ago who would have thought we would have been able to adapt, to be so agile, to use this crisis as an opportunity to innovate, For me to speak hundreds of times into a camera and at the same time to communicate with more people than ever before! The acceleration of digital ministry in churches and in society has been breathtaking.
2. “Emotions make great passengers but terrible drivers” – we have all had to learn to navigate our emotions in new ways. For my part I’ve been surprised, shocked and at times disappointed in how powerful emotions have been in me and in others and how devastating the consequences when we let them take the driving seat in our lives.
3. “The hard work is the heart work” – this one has hit me hard. In a year where I lost my mother and also welcomed into the world our first grandchild. Where I’ve heard more sad stories than I’ve heard in a long time it has been hard to allow God to keep my heart soft, expectant and full of faith. At times I’ve found leadership exhilarating but there’s been many times I’ve found it exhausting and debilitating. It’s then when I’ve learned the hard work is the heart work….always!
4. “Great questions are more valuable than great answers” – as a society we are used to having all the answers or at least thinking we do! This pandemic has taught us that control is an illusion, that nature is bigger than we realised and that sometimes there are no easy answers. As churches it’s our ability to ask great questions right now which will determine how we emerge from this season.
What do we need to rethink? What do we need to retire? What do we need to reshape?
What stays the same and what must change?
As you take some time to reflect on this past year here a few great questions to ask….
What have you lost? What have you learned?
How have you grown? How are you different?
What will you take with you from this season and what will you leave behind?
And maybe most important of all……
5. “God is closer than we think” – one of the stories in the Bible that seems to have had a lot of air time this past year is the story of Elijah in the cave in 1 Kings 19.
Here we find the prophet of God burned out, disappointed and disillusioned.
He has lost his perspective, his sense of hope and his belief that God is with him.
After experiencing the tenderness of God who restores him physically, emotionally and mentally Elijah witnesses the power of God in a Stephen Spielberg type show of special effects. But what makes the difference isn’t the flash bang of the special effects it’s the gentle whisper of God…..why does God whisper? Because He is close……
This past year I’ve learned God is closer than we think….He is closer than the air we breathe and His whisper makes all the difference.
Elijah leaves the cave restored, refreshed, revitalised and reset for the next season…
May we hear His whisper….may we feel His hand and sense His presence….
May we leave the ‘cave of the Covid lockdown’ restored, refreshed, revitalised and reset for this new season……
“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19:12 NLT
I’d love to know what you have learned from this last year and what you want to take with you…why not leave me a comment?